Gaming is fun! And Steam is a great place for both kids and adults who love to game. They have games the whole family can play together. However, there are a few steps parents should take to ensure kids have a fun and safe experience on Steam. Get up and running quickly with this Parent Guide to Steam. And, bring a whole new level of fun to family game night!
But first, what is Steam?
Steam is a gaming platform where users can purchase games to play on their PC. Gaming enthusiasts will find a host of games, from educational to recreational, for all ages. Steam is a great platform for both budding and advanced gamers. Steam is available for Windows and iOS systems; however, not all games are available for Mac users.
No more lost games! So, let’s get started.
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Parent Guide to Steam
Your child will need a Steam account and will have to download the Steam installer. This installer keeps all your games in your account where they can be downloaded onto any computer. Signing up for Steam is easy. And, the installer doesn’t take long to install.
Please note: You do need the installer to play the games on Steam. It is a simple installer that is virus-free.
How to Register an Account
Go to Steam https://store.steampowered.com/
Then click login
Click on Join Steam
This will take you to the page where you will create an account.
- Create an account name.
This will be your username in the Steam community. You can’t use any usernames that have profanity or vulgarity.
- Create a password.
You will need to create a strong password that someone will not guess, but your child can remember.
- Re-enter your password.
Make sure you re-enter it exactly as the first one.
- Enter your email.
I highly recommend that you create an email account just for Steam. It will help you keep a better eye on what is going on in the account, as well as alerting you to any charges made or game downloads. Enter your password again.
- Enter the security code exactly as it shown, including capitalizing the letters.
- Agree to the terms.
Make sure you read them first. Steam is very strict with their rules and you want to make sure you understand everything before agreeing. Your child must be 13 to have an account.
- Click create my account.
How to Install Steam
Next you will install the steam downloader. This downloader will enable you to download your games, purchase games, set preferences, etc.
Click on the Install Steam Now button.
Steam is available for Windows and Mac. Installation is self-explanatory. Simply follow the instructions on the screen
Log into the account you just created.
When you finish installing the installer, a screen like this will appear.
This is the main screen for everything on your account. Let’s get familiar with the options here.
This is where you will buy your games.
The games you purchase will be stored here.
This is the Steam community. Here you can talk to other players about games. It is open to everyone.
Your profile will be your username. This is the section where you can set up your profile, talk to your gaming friends, create and join groups, use chat rooms, and more.
Editing Preferences, Steam Guard, and Family Settings
Now that you’re familiar with the options in Steam, it’s time to get your preferences set. This is especially useful if you have kids playing. To set options, click on your username in the top bar. In the drop-down menu click on Account Details.
A screen like this will appear.
Let’s go through the Account Details screen step by step.
- Your Wallet
This is where you will be able to add a payment method to the account and purchase your credits for your wallet. Credits are used to buy games. They are also used to make in-game purchases such as skins, weapons, or tools.
- Contact Info
Here you can add your contact info such as your email address and phone number.
- Account Security
Steam Guard is essential if you want to keep an eye on your kid’s account. Click here to see why Steam Guard is so important.
- Family Settings
Here is where you manage your games. Using family settings, you can let your child have access to only the games you choose.
Please note: As the adult, you will need to have access to your child’s account or have your own account to manage Family Settings.
Managing Family View
In Family Settings select Manage Family View.
Here you can decide which games your child can access in Steam. You can also choose which online content and features they can use. If you prefer your child not use the chat room in Steam, simply keep “friends, chat, and groups” unchecked.
Set Recovery Options
You will be able to assign a main email address to recover your PIN. It must be an email address for the parent, not the child. This is important. The only way to change the settings is by using the PIN number. If you forget the PIN number, recovery will be very difficult without a working address.
Family View PIN
Set up your PIN for Family View. Be sure to use something that is easy for you to remember but not easy for your child to guess. If you forget your Family View PIN number, you’ll need to recover it using the recover email you just set (above).
After you do all that you will enter the secret code that will be sent to the email you added in the recovery section.
Congrats! Your Family Settings are complete. Changes to Family Settings can be made as needed by entering your PIN number.
You can read more about how to share your games HERE. Sharing games is a great feature, especially if you have more than one family member using Steam.
Parent Guide to Steam: Enabling Steam Guard
Steam Guard is an app for your phone. It can safeguard against your account being hacked. And, using Steam Guard gives parents control over game time for their kids. You will need to download Steam Guard to your phone and set it up. And, you will need to have your phone for your child (or you) to sign into their Steam account. They’ll need to enter a code which is sent to your phone via SMS each time.
After downloading and opening the app, you will click the “Add Authenticator” button.
You will then need to sign into your Steam account.
Add a phone number to your account.
Enter the SMS code sent to your phone.
Now whenever you or your child signs in they will see a screen like the one below. You will need the Steam Guard code sent to your phone to log in.
Parent Guide to Steam: Downloading A Game On Steam
Buying and downloading games on Steam is easy. We’ll just cover the basics by downloading and installing a free game available on Steam.
First, click on the Store tab in your installer.
Click on Games, and then Free to Play.
I chose Realm Grinder which is a great RPG game that is good for most kids of all ages. The game is free to play, but like most games, in-game purchases are available. Be sure to discuss your family policy on in-game purchases with your child so they are clear on it.
After finding the game, click on the Play Game button. This will start the installation process.
On the next screen, you will be able to choose your settings. Checking both shortcuts makes it easier to find the game after purchase.
After the game finishes downloading, you will find it in your library.
You’re ready! Click on Play!
Family Friendly Games on Steam
Now that you have everything downloaded and set up, you and your kids will probably want to begin playing right away. Here are a few family-friendly games to get you started:
Scribblenauts – Scribblenauts is an older game that was developed in 2012. In the game, you will help Maxwell solve puzzles, in seamless, free-roaming levels, by summoning any object you can think of. Create your own original objects, assign unique properties, and share them with friends online using Steam Workshop – to be used in-game or further modified as you like!
Tis-100 – Tis-100 is an open-ended programming game that teaches you code. You must go through all the code in a 1980s game and fix it. But don’t be fooled, it is not as easy as it sounds. It teaches you coding through fun and interactive play.
GameMaker Studio 2 – This game is not cheap but if you have a budding game maker in your household, it is a must have. This game has everything you need to take your game idea from your brain to a multi-level game. With a fresh user interface and many new exciting features including Real-Time Animation Editing, a new innovative workflow and seamless path from Drag and Drop to actual code, developing top quality games has never been easier! Featuring a powerful programming language for professionals, a drag-and-drop no-code-required workflow for beginners, and a comprehensive toolset, top quality games can be developed quickly at affordable prices.
Planet Coaster – This game is both educational and fun. It is one of the higher-priced games, but the graphics make it worth it. Planet Coaster brings fresh thrills, fireworks, and new customization options for every player in the FREE Summer Update. Fireworks are an explosive new way to customize parks, design epic firework displays with the new Display Sequencer, trigger them alongside other park events, and even choreograph them to custom music! Not only that, new to Planet Coaster: new rides, new coasters, video and image billboards, new scenarios, ride sequencer, painted wooden supports, and new scenery pieces!
LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4 – If you have a child that loves LEGOs and Harry Potter, this is the game for them! Build the adventure from Privet Drive to the Triwizard Tournament and experience the magic of the first four Harry Potter stories – LEGO style! Explore Hogwarts™ School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, learn spells, brew potions, and relive the adventures like never before with tongue-in-cheek humor and creative customization that is unique to LEGO video games!
Steam is a great place for kids and adults. I love the fact that they have games that the whole family can play together. Use this Parent Guide to Steam to ensure your kids can game safely. Then, join them for a fun night of family gaming!
Do your kids’ friends love to game? Share this post with their parents so they can game safely as well!